Wow – that was excellent!
The series delivers its best episode yet in its penultimate episode, handling every relationship well and packing in emotional punches that are so real to life. Calling this show a cautionary tale against adultery and divorce may be reducing what it’s trying to do, but the message was clear in this episode that divorce is a difficult, tedious, heart-wrenching process.
Hyun Woo & Soo Yeon
Now I’ve always been sitting on the fence for Soo Yeon, saying that her journey has largely been untold hence being unwilling to judge her. However, I have to say that I swung more towards the dissatisfied camp viewing her behaviour in this episode. While Hyun Woo is desperately trying at the start to provide suggestions to her to recover their romance, she just turns a blank look towards him and “sorry” is the only word she says throughout. She’s so trapped in her own guilt that she’s unwilling to even give it a shot to try to win her husband back. She takes it as a given, even as he moves away from her when the memories flash back. She gives in to the fact that the marriage can never be the same again. Why is she so unwilling to fight for the marriage – even if it’s for the sake of her son? If the show’s so willing to paint her in that negative light, I’m also hoping it does her justice by explaining her unwillingness to put in that effort to fight for her marriage and her son.
The sad thing about Hyun Woo and Soo Yeon’s marriage is that the very reasons why they are divorcing are also the very reasons why they should work on the marriage. They are both overwhelmed by feelings of inadequacy and having failed each other. It’s ironic and somewhat bittersweet that the decision to go through with the divorce brings them together both physically and emotionally. They’ve had the most screen time together this episode than the entire series. Emotionally wise, it’s almost as if the decision to divorce brings a clarity and they can now work together on the journey ahead. Even the divorce planner looks at them in disbelief, at how easily they agree on things and how they put each other’s needs first. As they speak to their parents, they present a united front and never push the blame on each other, attempting to uplift the other spouse in front of their parents. In selecting a new home for Soo-Yeon and Joon-Soo, Hyun Woo is so detailed, ensuring every aspect is looked into. Even as they work on how they will lead separate lives, they are growing closer again – the closest they’ve ever been in the series. And sometimes, it’s the clarity in moving ahead that brings a couple together. It was both touching yet painful to watch and the show does an amazing job in portraying their journey.
Since I’ve always been rooting for Joon-Soo to get a voice, I have to mention the scene with him this episode, for which heart-breaking cannot even begin to describe. Tears flow down his eyes as he remains strong, telling his dad that he will protect his mum. It’s a brief scene, with little emotional fanfare, but you know this boy’s life will never be the same again.
Joon Young and Bo Young
Their relationship and the pregnancy was handled with such maturity and grace – I was seriously impressed. I’ve always spoken about the show’s excellent production values and this episode displayed that once again. In the scene where both of them speak to each other while sitting in front of computers, we see their conversation through a window and when one is speaking to the other, we see both the person’s actual face and their reflection.
Bo Young and Joon Young are not just talking to each other in this scene, they are also talking to themselves and reflecting on their own emotional journeys. Every scene with them is so on-point and touching. Joon Young keeps prodding Bo Young, teasing her playfully about them going dating. There’s a certain charming confidence about him as he knows what he wants and goes for it. Bo Young’s turmoil is so clearly displayed during this episode. She wants the child, and she wants to be with Joon Young – but she doesn’t want marriage and all the emotional complications that it entails for her. Joon Young is clear – he wants to be by her side, regardless of what it entails. The decision between them is not whether to be together, but with how to view their relationship. If there was no child involved, dating would be alright. However, now with the child present, it seems like they cannot be together without getting married – which is honestly something I’m also not sure Joon Young is ready for. The best way ahead for them would not be to rush into marriage, but to continue dating and dealing with the emotional outfall from their respective divorces. While the child is important, any couple must always not lose track of building their relationship and in that aspect, both of them still have some work.
I do appreciate that Joon Young’s sweetness and care for Bo Young is so tender and natural, as displayed during the working lunch. In fact, it’s so natural that anyone at the table could easily miss it. He’s attentive to her throughout, watching out for her needs, handling her water when she runs out, opening her rice bowl for her. It’s really touching to see and really, this is what love is about – not the huge dramatic gestures, but these small acts of attentiveness.
Yoon-ki and Ara
I really appreciated that there was no overblown, overdramatic sequences this time round and all we got was serious exploration of the consequences of Yoon-ki’s philandering ways. I knew we were in for something good when Ara came to speak to Hyun Woo (could she be Tuna Mayo?), but her conversation with him reveals her emotional journey over the past year where she grew to hate who she was becoming. She felt like she was becoming a monster as her hatred for the man she loved kept brewing and growing. She finally reached a point where she stopped loving him and no longer needed to battle with her emotions. She can now simply focus on hating him and getting payback.
I sense her emotional journey is not fully over and there may come a point in the next episode where she realises that taking Yoon-ki down is not giving her the emotional resolution that she needs. Her pathway to revenge is actually simply another way of avoiding the tediousness of talking through her emotions with Yoon-ki. It would have been so much more painful and difficult to ask him why he stopped loving her and why he did all those thing. Interestingly, I am now keen to hear Yoon-ki’s side of the story a little more – what exactly was going through his mind when he persisted in flagrant philandering? Did he never think that she would divorce him?
If there’s one thing in common for both Soo Yeon and Ara, it’s that they are both portrayed as being very alone. They have no community of friends where they can just let loose and have fun, unlike their husbands. We did see Soo Yeon interacting with a friend a while back, but that certainly seems like a rare occurrence.
I found myself quite surprised at how invested I was in the journeys of these forum users that we’ve come to know throughout the series. Not in the sense that I like them, but I did find myself smiling to see the hacker couple reconcile and was touched by the emotional closure at the end between the two elderly ladies.
It’s been such a satisfying emotional journey with this show and I can’t wait to see what the finale brings tonight!